Ancho Chile Oil


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:

    1 quart

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Because ancho chiles (dried ripe poblano chiles) are easy to find and flavorful, and give a deep ruby glow to infused oils, they make a perfect starting point for experimentation. But almost any dried or fresh chile can be used to make a distinctive oil. Chipotle chiles or pasillas de Oaxaca (both of which are smoked) make especially delicious hot and smoky oils. Adjust the chile amounts depending on the size of the chiles. Dried pasillas, for example, are at least twice the size of dried chipotles. Adjust the proportions of pure olive oil and extra-virgin olive oil to taste.


dried chiles such as ancho, guajillo, mulato, pasilla, chipotle, or pasillas de oaxaca 20 to 40 20 to 40
pure olive oil 3 cups 750 ml
extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup 250 ml


  1. Rinse and dry the chiles or wipe them with a moist towel. Cut off the stems.
  2. Chop the chiles for about 30 seconds in a food processor, until they flake but aren’t powdered, or chop them finely by hand. There should be cups (375 milliliters) flakes, so if necessary, grind or chop a few more.
  3. Combine the chile flakes with the pure olive oil in a saucepan and place over medium heat. When the chiles are sizzling and begin to float, turn the heat down very low and let the chiles sizzle gently for 3 to 10 minutes. Keep sniffing the oil and as soon as the chiles begin to smell toasty, take the pan off the heat. Let cool for 30 minutes. Alternatively, cook the chiles and pure olive oil sous vide at 140°F (60°C) for 3 hours.
  4. Stir the extra-virgin olive oil into the chile mixture. Strain through a fine chinois or a strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth. If there are still specks floating in the oil, strain the oil again through a strainer lined with a cloth napkin.